More than 1,400 retirees in Romania have been ordered to pay back about $7.15 million in retirement benefits after it emerged they did not meet criteria to retire on medical grounds, authorities said Monday.
In recent years, about 7,000 cases were approved for retirement on medical grounds in the town of Moreni and surrounding villages, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of Bucharest.
Authorities revealed that about 3,000 appeared to be unfounded and about 1,400 retirees recently had their pensions taken away after an investigation showed that they were fraudulently gained. They were ordered to pay back the benefits they had received.
Documents relating to the cases were sent to anti-corruption prosecutors, Lucian Pistritu, who heads the pensions committee in the area, told The Associated Press.
There are about 4 million retirees in Romania and 6 million employed people, which puts a strain on the country's welfare system.
Authorities say about 900,000 people are retired on medical grounds. The average monthly pension is 540 lei (euro130).